Immortalised in William Blake’s poem – Tyger, tyger burning bright, in the forests of the night… – this creature of myths and popular storybooks needs little introduction, especially since almost every culture on earth considers the species important. But what would the tiger be without its forest, or the forest without its tiger? This reality has long stared the amber and black-stroked super-predator in the face, earning it its endangered status classification. Of nine sub-species of tiger that once roamed Asia widely, just five still walk the planet, and all but the Bengal tiger, in ever shrinking numbers.
With satellite populations in Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, India is really the last stronghold of the enigmatic Bengal tiger, protecting the last viable wild population of these cats in the world. Predictably, the biggest threats to global tiger populations come in the form of human encroachment, shrinking natural habitat and poaching. But as the old adage goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way and Project Tiger, launched in 1973, has proven this as tiger numbers gradually claw their way upwards. Various NGOs, like Tiger Watch underpin the overall efforts to conserve tigers in India, as do our very own &Beyond guests who, simply by travelling with us, help us to help such organisations to leave our (much-beloved apex predator’s) world in a better place than we found it.